Crazy talk: GOP contenders spar over climate change and evolution

Last month, GOP presidential candidate and former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman made waves by Tweeting: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

Carefully trodding the crazy line in order to not alienate constituents, however, during a soon-after Fox and Friends appearance, Huntsman said that while he does believe in evolutionary science (aka:  Science) he thinks it’s “part of God’s plan.”

It is a sad reality when a statement so simple and downright logical can become the subject of controversy amongst politicos – specifically those vying to lead the country over the next 4-or-more years should Barack Obama lose in November 2012.

But, there it is. “Crazy.” And at last night’s Republican debate, Huntsman was actually called out for the “crazy” suggestion that his fellow-contenders in the Republican party are “anti-science” – much like the majority of their base.

“Your chief political adviser has been quoted very prominently as describing the Republican Party as ‘a bunch of cranks,’ and said your opponents on the stage ‘make a buffet of crazy and inane comments.’ I’m sure that’s insulting to some of these people up here,” said debate moderator John Harris. “Who on this stage is anti-science?”

Huntsman dodged the actual question and opted to not name names.

“When you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call to question evolution, all I’m saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science,” Huntsman said. “We can’t run from mainstream conservative philosophy.”

Alluding to the fact that science is, well, fact, Huntsman inadvertently called out the climate-change deniers and “creationists” who filled up the vast majority of the Republican stage – such as Governor Rick Perry, who has notoriously questioned the facts supporting – no, proving – both evolution and climate change.

“I do believe the science is not settled on this,” said Perry on climate change during the televised debate, asserting that even Galileo was “outvoted for a spell.”

“Just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said, ‘Here is the fact’ — Galileo got outvoted for a spell.”

Well heck yeah, he was, Rick! But only, not how you want people to think – or maybe not how you think. Which is it? Are you that dumb, or just pretending to be on TV for your very own cliched “You betcha’!” moment?

Perry cites and compares his own, backwards views with those of Galileo; in case you were not aware, Galileo is considered by most historians to be the “Father of Science” and was persecuted by denialist religious authorities as a heretic, not by the scientific community.

An Italian mathematician, physicist, astronomer and philosopher, Galileo played a large role in the Scientific Revolution and was famously arrested for arguing on the side of the scientific method in direct opposition to the the ruling church and its antiquated views of faith over science.

Comparatively, Perry’s argument is closer to that of Pope Urban VIII who ordered Galileo imprisoned for his views than Galileo himself.

But, the charismatic Texan got his soundbite, flashed his smile and undoubtedly convinced would-be voters that not only is he a “regular guy” –  a God-fearing, gun-toting, gay-hating white male – but he has him some book-learnin’, too.

And as the GOP ideologically and intellectually (mis)aligns itself on the topics of climate change, evolution and other hard-fact-proven science in order to satisfy the equally-misguided ranks of the anti-intellectual Right, such repetitive, smoke-and-mirror preaching will surely side-step the real issues facing the country and rally up more votes amongst the radically stupid.